The other morning rather than the typical beep, beep, beep of an alarm clock I was wakened by the baa, baa, baa much too close to our bedroom window. My kids 3 orphan lambs were out and enjoying their new found freedom.
As I was putting them back in their pen thoughts turned to how often we are referred to as sheep in the Bible. If you have any experience with this woolly little animal, you know the idea of being like them isn't always a fun thing to think about.
Though the analogy can make us appear weak and not real intelligent I was reminded of another morning I had spent with these 3 little lambs earlier this spring. Those early morning moments reminded me how true the comparison really is.
My dad gave my 3 kids the 3 orphan lambs as a gift along with the opportunity to learn responsibility and make a little money. Since they are 5, 3 and 1 much of the learning has taken place with my help!! Early on when we were bottle feeding them morning, noon and night I tried to take the morning shift by myself simply because it took 10 minutes to feed them and 30 to dress everyone to go outside.
The plan usually worked, but one morning as the rains came down I struggled to leave the comfort of my bed and go feed the lambs. Eventually I drug myself out and not only cared for the sheep, but was fed by my Shepherd as well.
As I entered the barn it was obvious how needy and dependent these little lambs were and as I provided for their needs their joyful bleats and wagging tail showed their appreciation. While I thought about their orphan status, I was reminded of mine as well.
God has not only adopted me as His child, but He's put people in my life to care for me as a spiritual orphan as well. As I sat there feeding these needy little animals I thought of those who did the same for me when my walk of faith began. Many were there nursing me along with spiritual milk and I wondered if there were times when they had drug their feet to help me just like I had done with the lambs.
Even if their flesh had wanted them to forget me, I'm thankful God moved them to care and provide because just like the nourishment I gave to the lambs filled a need, what these people have done for me did the same.
It's interesting to write this now because these little lambs are growing and no longer need milk, but are still dependent. This supports the analogy of us and lambs because my faith has grown and though I no longer need to be fed in the same way, I'm still dependent. I will never outgrow the need for my Shepherd.
In a year these lambs will no longer be lambs, but instead could be caring for lambs of their own. Again just like us - as we mature, we must reach out and pass on what's been given to us and help nurse another towards maturity. And on those days when I don't feel like getting up to do the job at hand I must remember those who went before me and do what they did. Investing in another takes time and effort, but the results of the work we do for God are priceless!!
And as these lambs have grown in stature they have also grown in independence. It's great they no longer need me 3 times a day, but they still rely on me. Not just for their nutrition, but safety as well. The other morning as I returned them to their pen, I was reminded how I still need those spiritual caregivers as well. At times I can stray from my path just like they did from their pen and I need advice and guidance to help me return to safety. At times God, our Shepherd does that thru the Holy Spirit and others by speaking thru those who are a step ahead.
So though Grandpa was intending to teach my kids responsibility (there's been a lesson with that as well) I have received many spiritual lessons from my lambs and for that I am grateful!!